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GM To Build Four Versions Of Saturn Car: Trade Journal

July 8, 1986

DETROIT (AP) _ General Motors Corp. plans to build four versions of its highly touted Saturn small car, including a two-seat sports coupe, a trade publication says.

The report in this week’s Metalworking News edition of American Metal Market was one of the most detailed yet of GM’s hush-hush plans for the cars to be built at its high-technology factory in Spring Hill, Tenn.

Up to now, GM has said only that the first Saturn car would be a four-door sedan followed by a two-door version. But Metalworking News, quoting unidentified sources, said current Saturn plans also include a two-door hatchback and a two-passenger coupe within the first three years of carmaking at Saturn.

Asked to comment on the report, Judith Merriott, a spokeswoman at Saturn Corp. headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Troy, replied Tuesday, ″We’re not talking yet about products, processes or timing.″

GM broke ground April 8 for the $3.5 billion Saturn car assembly and partsmaking complex in central Tennessee, but the automaker hasn’t said when it will be completed or when the first car will be produced.

GM Chairman Roger B. Smith said he intends to drive away the first Saturn before he retires. Smith turns 65 on July 12, 1990.

″GM still has not given any engineering or build contract to its metal cutting systems suppliers for the equipment that will be needed to produce the Saturn engines, transmissions or other components,″ said Metalworking News, which reports on toolmaking and industrial equipment trends in the auto and aerospace industries.

The Saturn cars, the publication said, won’t have the squared-off wedge look of most of GM’s current cars, a style that has come under criticism as other carmakers move toward more aerodynamic lines.

The Saturn car bodies will be made principally of steel, the report said. GM’s current two-seat sports cars, the Pontiac Fiero and the expensive Chevrolet Corvette, have plastic bodies.